Observed annually on the 10th day of September in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, the holiday called Gibraltar Day commemorates the territories’ first sovereignty referendum of 1967. This referendum asked the voters of Gibraltar whether they wished to pass under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British sovereignty with self-government and their own institutions.
The result was that the citizens of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted to stay under British sovereignty. This holiday is observed with dress competitions, a Freedom of the City Ceremony, concerts, and a fireworks display that’s attended by large crowds of people.
The History Gibraltar National Day
Gibraltar was seen as being in an important strategic position since it existed at the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic. As a result, it fell under the control of a lot of different empires over the years including the Phoenician, Carthaginian, and Roman empires.
During the 8th century, it was occupied by the Moors and it would get its name from an Arabic word that was translated to Spanish during the conquest. During the 15th century, the area came under the control of the Spanish.
During the early 18th century, Anglo-Dutch forces would take Gibraltar from Spain on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish Throne during the Spanish War of Succession. In 1713, Gibraltar would eventually be ceded to Great Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht.
However, this didn’t stop Spain from trying to push its territorial claims on the area. In response, a sovereignty referendum was held in Gibraltar on September 10th, 1967. Under this referendum, voters would ask they wanted to pass under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British sovereignty. The result was that 99.64% of all voters voted to remain under British sovereignty. On September 10th, 1992, the first National Day of Gibraltar was held on the 25th anniversary of the passing of the referendum. It’s been celebrated ever since.
Observing Gibraltar National Day
A Children’s dress competition is held at the Parliament building on Main Street and this is usually followed by a large street festival. There is also a Freedom of the City Ceremony during which the names of the recipients of the Gibraltar of Medallion of Honor winners are read by Gibraltar’s Mayor. This day also features concerts, airshows, and plenty of other events, culminating with a fireworks display at the end of the day of festivities.